Monthly Archives: April 2012

Love him with my whole heart, I do. (Dad)

Since watching it sail off into the sunset just a few hours ago, it seemed obvious that I would write about our ship tonight.

About the amazing people that are on their way to Papua New Guinea to give their very lives to others. About the ones that waved them off from the shore who have spent long hours preparing, assembling, building, welding, painting, cleaning, praying. About the many people that have rallied, given themselves, invested their time, emptied their wallets.

I was going to write about the people waiting on the other side of the journey. The ones who have hope rising because of the heart and help that the ship brings and represents.

And these are worthy things to write about. (I will.)

But then I realized that today is my dad’s birthday.

And maybe no one else in the blogosphere cares about reading a wee post from a girl about her dad… but I care about writing, about giving him space.

I have so many memories of my dad growing up. I kid you not, they are all happy.

He was just that good of a dad.

But you know what I always remember when I think back to him during our “little” years?

Bike rides.

And tennis.

And softball in the park and soccer in the yard.

Whatever was my current whim, there he was right alongside me, helping me to learn, helping me get better,

but mostly… just having fun with me.

What a great dad. Dependable, available, approachable, relatable.

Always giving, always fun, always involved (in the best possible way).

Sixty years of being the best dad (and now granddad) I could ever imagine having.

Love him with my whole heart, I do.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you remember your growing-up years with your dad?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

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Enjoying the small things, wholeheartedly

It’s easy to take for granted, isn’t it? Especially the small things.

Like bathtubs and quiet hours and good books.

This morning the boys went out for a walk along the Strand while I stayed in our hotel room and drew a hot bath.

I can’t actually remember the last time I had a bath. We only have a shower stall at home, so when we came to the hotel with a clean, white bathtub I knew I needed to make sure to bury myself in it at some point.

After the boys left I filled the tub, boiled the kettle and made myself a cup of tea, put a small lamp in the bathroom so I wouldn’t need the bright overhead lights, and settled in with a book.

Music played on the ipad a few feet away until I realized, wait, I never get this – the sound of silence – and quickly turned it off.

I let my tired muscles soak and my weary soul drink of Ann’s rich words.

Today would be a day I would not take for granted. I would not let it slip by without making it matter.

Small things, normal things, beautiful things.

The boys returned, bounding in with squeals and mommmyyyyyyy! just as I finished drying off my pruned up skin.

I was ready to see them again, missing them.

Clean and grateful I pulled my robe around my middle and went out to embrace my little balls of endless energy.

Enjoying the small things, wholeheartedly.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When is the last time you really enjoyed the small things?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Little baby

He pulls my face and grabs it close. With slobbery lips he leans in, open-mouthed, face-planting.

Pulling back he squeals, pleased with himself, sure of my approval.

Tiny fingers grip my hair, the easiest thing to grasp.

I wince, knowing why so many women cut their hair once the babies come.

His eyes still blue, they sparkle and smile.

Once toothless grin is replaced by little bunny teeth, a sign of growth, of newborn no more.

Happy flailing of arms and kicking of feet tell me that life is good.

Captured by my every move, he thinks I’m the most beautiful person he’s ever known. Also the funniest.

And I love that.

Little baby, so sweet, so small. So strong.

How will you ever be a curious 8-year-old?

How will you ever be a gawky 13-year-old?

How will you ever be an adventurous 17-year-old?

How will you ever be an ambitious 29-year-old?

Little baby, I like you just the way you are.

You’re more mine now than you ever will be. I like it that way.

I’m in no hurry to change things.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you have children? How do you see their current age?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Searching for margin, longing for rest, needing connection.

Someone gave us money to “do something fun”.

Someone else gave us their apartment on the beach so that we could “get away and relax”.

Someone else gave us a day off after he asked my husband if he had dirt on his face when really it was just bags under his eyes.

So this weekend we’re having a quick getaway to a beach apartment that’s 10 minutes from our house.

Amazing how stressful it can be to prepare to relax. How’s that for irony?

The details are boring but today was a stream of plans-gone-wrong after plans-gone-wrong.

Lists are made but only half completed.

Kids are revved up on I-don’t-know-what’s-happening-but-it’s-different-therefore-exciting energy.

(In other words, tehy’re driving me crazy.)

And after a long day at work the family comes together and we decide it’s worth the stress and the busy and the crazy.

Because soon we’ll be 10 minutes away feeling as if we’re miles away.

We need each other. We need to connect. We need to collapse into baths (we don’t have one) and read books and listen to music and curl up in a great big bed, all piled on top of each other.

Rest is good. Margins are good.

We’re trying to find both.

Thank God there are a few people around us helping.

STOP.

 

Q for you: I think “margin” and “rest” are problems in our society today. Are you finding margins and rest in your life? How?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Spring cleaning, house and heart

It’s autumn here but there’s this urgency growing beneath my skin to do some spring cleaning.

Behind cupboard doors sit unused things, taking up space, collecting dust.

Some are just too hard to reach so they’re forgotten.

Drawers in disarray feel fuller.

Closets that looked bare only months ago now seem to burst with a sea of cotton.

At a glance things look fine, but behind closed doors Mess lurks.

It’s driving me mad and I’m having brutal impulses to Purge. All. This. Stuff.

I’ve realized that I get this way when I’m tired or stressed. (Or extra “this way” when I’m tired and stressed.)

It’s suffocating and stiffling and whereisthespacetocreateandenjoy?

I want to simplify. Reduce. Get rid of fillers and noise and things that make me feel stuffy.

I want to open the curtains and let the breeze in.

I want to lift lids and move rugs.

And maybe it’s not really about things being clean or organized.

Maybe it’s just me wanting to gain some sort of sense of mastery over the chaos. Reign it in.

I never thought I had control issues. Until I had children. Children who have minds and clocks and opinions of their own.

They will not be controlled. They fit in no boxes. they respond to no formulas. (I’m glad for that. Mostly.)

But they make me realize that I have to let go. (MOre.) I have to create more margin. I have to find breathing space.

Life is too full to be full.

And maybe it’s not even a negative thing to want to reign in the chaos and restore some order. Maybe it’s the creative process starting all over again. God brought order out of chaos, right?

So when this sort, sift, clean, organize, purge, open-up-the-doors-and-let-the-good-green-earth-come-in thing starts to happen to me, it makes me stop and think:

Is it hte house that needs tending? Or is it my soul?

Perhaps we both need to open up the windows a bit wider?

STOP.

 

Q for you: How does your physical environment influence your mental/emotional/spiritual realm? (Or the reverse?)

 

Love,
A

p.s. Admittedly, this post is a bit scattered tonight. I suppose that’s just going to happen occasionally when writing in this format with no structure or editing. I suppose also that’s part of the God-getting-in-the-cracks process. And the humbling-me process. Sometimes it truly is hard to hit “publish”…

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


I don’t go to church. Or do I?

Whenever people ask me where I go to church I stumble and hem and haw and try to find words to answer their question.

The truth is, we don’t go to church. At least not in the sense that people are talking about.

Both Ryan and I have “home churches” that we love – his in Sydney, mine in Oregon. We love going back to those guys and feel totally at home there.

Those churches are places of friendship, connection, encouragement, and worship. They are places that we represent through our service. We consider ourselves an extension of them as we work here in Townsville.

But we don’t go to a place we call “church” every Sunday morning.

The thing is, we do have a church. We meet with a group of believers several days a week – working, serving, worshiping, praying, growing in relationship. We teach one another, we break bread together, we encourage and strengthen one another.

We actually are the church. It just also happens to be our workplace.

I know it’s hard for some people to get that.

They need a name, a denomination, a set of four walls.

So when I tell them that we don’t go to church, I can sense some of them cringing inside. (Is she really saved? Is she bitter toward the church? Is she *gasp* an independent?)

Newsflash, yes, I know God. No, I’m not bitter. And no, we are definitely not independent.

Sometimes I think we have far more community than I think is even comfortable.

(But that’s not really the point of church is it? To be “comfortable”?)

The point of church is to gather, serve, grow, teach, encourage, worship, connect. Be the Body.

So yes, I suppose I do go to church.

Nearly every day.

STOP

 

Q for you: What do you think church is?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


The launch. It’s coming.

I’ve been working for hours and hours and days now… getting ready to launch Bloggers for Birth Kits on my other blog.

That day is tomorrow.

And I can’t wait.

Funny how easy it is for a passion to spring up out of nowhere… Something like this that I’d never have dreamed of and yet it makes so much sense.

So many of my interests and passions combined: women’s issues, the developing world, birth, motherhood, service, YWAM, blogging, mobilizing, rallying people together, educating.

It’s a good fit really.

I almost didn’t do it this year because I feared getting too many donations.

Last year I wanted 300… and I got over 2000.

Um… hello.

This year, I don’t know…

I just want what God has.

I almost backed away, but a friend (who I barely know) challenged me. “Isn’t having too many a good problem?” she asked me in earnest. “Surely if that happens, God has a way of helping you handle it, right?”

BAM. Truth.

I suppose I’ve just been busy. And a little tired.

And the thought of lots and lots of emails and lots and lots of responding on social networks like blogs and twitter and facebook… is a bit tiring. (Especially when they’re primarily crammed in after 8:00pm at night when I’m already pretty wasted.)

And yet at the same time I feel completely energized by it all.

Doing something that has no (or little) personal benefit feels good, you know?

it feels right.

So here we go. In eight hours time Bloggers for Birth Kits Mothers Day Drive 2012 will launch.

Wish me luck! And come check it out here.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you ever given yourself to something and accidentally discovered a passion because of it?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Homesick, and the ache of More

It happens to me every. single. time.

A visit to my childhood home approaches and I grow homesick.

Home. Sick.

The closer the trip becomes, the more my heart aches.

It’s been twelve years since I lived in America.

You’d think that the longer I am away, the easier it would become.

But hardships and revelations and babies and friendships make that impossible.

Instead, the ache grows.

I know what it’s like to be a foreigner. To live as an alien in a land not my own.

I know what it means to put roots down and be home, and yet not really home.

As much as the ache aches, it’s also my gift.

Reminding me that I’m not Home. Reminding me that there is More.

My home is in Him.

Homesick for heaven… Homesick for a place I don’t know, and yet know so well.

Sometimes I think it’s the lack of belonging, that hard-to-pinpoint knowing of yes, here I fit.

But I will never really fit.

I realize it’s more than a circumstance, a feeling, an address, a season.

It’s heaven. It’s Him.

I’m homesick for Him.

My home is in Him.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you homesick? A foreigner living in a “strange” land? Is this you, too? What do you do with the ache?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Confession: I’m a sucker for reality TV

We love reality tv shows around here. LOVE.

Not what you’re thinking (Jersey Shores, The Bachelor). We love the talent competition ones.

First it was American Idol. Then, Australian Idol.

Then it was So You Think You Can Dance, the American version. (Yes, Ryan liked it just as much as me!!)

When that wore off, we got right into Master Chef for one or two seasons, the Aussie one.

That one got annoying because it was on six nights a week. SIX. (And it’s highly addictive!! Who wants to be “chained” to a show nearly every night a week?!!!)

Last year we got into The Block and Top Design. I was kinda obsessed with these shows. Seriously. I lovelovelove design and decorating. Ryan was almost equally into it. (It would be hard to equal my passion on this one.)

This year? Well, the Block is on again. (Yayyayayay!) But we’re also now ADDICTED to The Voice – the Aussie version.

The judges – Seal, Delta, Keith, Joel. Hello, they are the perfect line up!!

I think Ryan has a celebrity man-crush on Keith Urban. And I so get it – he’s so adorable!

And Delta just might be the most beautiful woman on the planet. Pretty sure I gush about her every ad break.

Joel is hilarious in a wear-it-on-your-sleeve kind of way. (He annoyed us as first and has now won both of us over.)

And then there’s Seal. (Need I say more?)

And the competitors? So. Awesome. So. Talented.

We were so excited to watch it tonight that we actually let Levi watch the first 1/2 hour with us since it started at 6:30.

As strange as this sounds… I felt like such a “real” little family sitting there, all watching The Voice together. Flash back 20 years and we would have been gathered around the little tely watching Young Talent Time.

Levi was captivated! Of course he’s obsessed with music so it was right up his ally… but I think there was also the I’m-up-at-night-watching-tv-like-a-big-boy-with-mom-and-dad factor that was pretty fun for him too.

Even Judah woke up so that he could be a part of the action. (cheeky baby.)

I so enjoyed having my boys piled on the couch with us as we enjoyed good music and watching people step out in faith to pursue their dreams.

We couldn’t help but wonder as we were watching… what would we do if one of our littles were on that stage one day?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Reality TV – yay or nay??

 

Love,
A

p.s. Another confession: I went over time today. Like a minute.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Do you have rules for yourself that you sometimes wish you didn’t?

Recently I found a stack of thank you cards that I never finished. Some are from Levi’s birthday (January). THe others are from Christmas.

Can I just say how devastating this is?

I have a personal value that gifts should always be acknowledged by a thank you card. It’s something I try to always do.

For both of these occasions I printed out cute cards that I made myself. (Put a little effort into it already, you know?)

I have my lists of who needs to be thanked.

And then they got buried under the mounds of other stuff in that one cubby hole in my office shelves that I avoid that’s full of things to be filed and paperwork to sort out…

and never saw the light of day again until… later.

Much later.

Now we are looking at three and four months late.

What do I do?

Chalk it up as a thank you fail and move on?

Of write the cards with a “better late than never” mentality? (Almost more embarassing, I think?)

Would people be blessed to receive a thank you this far down the track? Or is that just weird.

I’m seriously considering moving on… but then there’s this thing. This thing I have about doing them.

Ugh.

Does this happen to anyone else? Do you have “rules” for yourself that you sometimes wish you didn’t but that you also don’t want to give up because you think they;re important? (And was that a long, non-sensical sentence, or what?)

Help me.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What’s one of your personal “things” that you just have to do… but sometimes with you didn’t?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited